Giving FAQs

 We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed philanthropic decision.  

If your question does not appear in this list, please contact us at giving@gwu.edu or call 1-800-789-2611, and we will happily assist you.

 General Questions

How do I make a gift to GW?

The George Washington University can accept gifts via many different methods.  Listed below are the most common through which you can make your gift.

  • Online gifts - GW's secure online giving form is the easiest and quickest way to make your gift.
  • Gifts by mail or phone - mail your gift to:
            The George Washington University
            Annual Giving
            2033 K Street, Suite 300
            Washington, DC  20052
    Please make checks payable to The George Washington University.
  • Charge your gift to Mastercard, Visa, or American Express by using our online form or by calling 1-800-789-2611.
  • Gifts of Stock or Securities - Contributing securities or appreciated stocks and bonds is a tax-wise way to show support of GW. You can make a difference by electronic transfer or by certificate. Please call 1-800-789-2611 for more information.
  • Gifts of Real Estate - There are many options for donating your home, second home, commercial building, raw land, farm, or other real estate to GW. There may be a gift plan available that will help you achieve your charitable and financial goals with a gift of real estate. Learn more about the many ways you can help GW with a gift of real estate.
  • Planned Giving - Our estate planning options allow you to support GW while often securing favorable tax treatment. Learn more about your options.

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Where can I give?
You may designate your contribution to any of GW's schools, programs, libraries, special initiatives, scholarship funds, or endowments. If you would like help in matching your interests to an area of support, visit the My Interest page, or call us at 1-800-789-2611.

 

Endowments

What are the minimum endowment levels to establish and name an endowed fund?
The minimum gift required to establish a named endowment fund is $100,000. Endowment gifts can be pledged and paid over a period of up to 5 years. For more information about naming scholarships, fellowships, professorships, or lectureships, please contact Jennifer Riordan at jriordan@gwu.edu or 202-994-9432.

Can I choose what my endowment supports?
Yes, a number of donors to the George Washington University choose to restrict how their funds can be used. You can designate your gift to support a particular school or program, special initiative, library, or other opportunity at the university. Please contact Jennifer Riordan at jriordan@gwu.edu or 202-994-9432 to review your options.

Once established, can I continue to give to my fund?
Yes, unless you state otherwise in your memorandum of understanding when the gift is established, the fund can be left "open" to future gifts from you or other individuals who choose to support the fund.

When will an endowment begin generating payout that can be spent?
Once the initial gift has been received, the minimum required funding levels have been achieved, and all required paperwork has been completed, initial payout funds will become available within 2 to 3 months.  Some exceptions may apply.

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What percentage of endowment earnings are spent?
The amount of earnings that are spent each year varies because it is based on the market value of the endowment. The average spending rate for the past 5 years has been approximately 5%.

What is a quasi-endowment?
Quasi endowment funds are funds functioning as an endowment that are established by the institution from either donor or institutional funds, and will be retained and invested rather than expended. The quasi endowment must retain the purpose and intent as specified by the donor or source of the original funds, and earnings may be expended only for those purposes. Since they are established by the institution rather than by an external source, the principal may be expended as stipulated by the donor.

What is an "underwater" endowment?
An endowment fund is "underwater" when its market value falls below the value of the original gift(s) to the institution.

What is GW's policy for endowed funds? Is there a policy for spending from underwater funds?
Federal and state legislation provides guidance and authority to charitable organizations concerning the management and investment of funds held by the organization. In 43 states and the District of Columbia, the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) governs the spending policies and protects the interests of donors who want to see their contributions used wisely. The UPMIFA provides institutions with the legal authority to make prudent expenditures despite having endowment funds which have asset value below their original value (underwater funds). The George Washington University currently follows UPMIFA's prudent spending policy.

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How often is endowment payout distributed?
Endowment payout is distributed monthly.

Will GW reinvest the payout to help my fund grow?
Endowment payout may be reinvested into the corpus of the fund at the donor's request, if the fund does not meet minimum required funding levels or at the discretion of the university.

What does GW's endowment provide for?
More than 1,200 individual endowments that comprise the George Washington University's consolidated pooled endowment provide perpetual funding for instructional and research support, professorships, scholarships, and facilities.

What is the value of GW's endowment?
Thanks to careful financial stewardship and the generosity of alumni, faculty, staff, students, families, and friends, the endowment grew to a value of $1.57 billion as of June 30, 2016.

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How does the endowment increase in value?
While investment returns help to fuel the growth of GW's endowment, the addition and appreciation of gifts are more important over the long term. Regular, recurring contributions effectively lower the endowment's cost basis, reduce risk, and enhance performance. Over time, market volatility "averages out" as the fund increases in value.Total endowment assets returned 1.2 percent over the last fiscal year and endowment assets in aggregate returned an annualized average of 6.4 percent for the five years ending June 30, 2016. The pooled endowment returned 3.1 percent for the fiscal year.

What is the recent history of GW endowments?
Two hundred thirteen new endowments have been created since 2011. GW pools these individual endowments for investment purposes, with the goal of preserving and enhancing the endowment's purchasing power while providing a relatively stable source of income to meet the university's needs. In fiscal year 2016, the endowment provided $77 million for GW's activities.

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Faculty and Staff Campaign

Where have faculty and staff given to in the past?
You are welcome and encouraged to make your gift to any area you wish, designation options are listed on the donation form for your convenience.

How much should I give?
You determine amount of your gift according to your own charitable interests, your personal willingness to give, and your financial capacity. No gift is too small. It's your participation in the effort that matters most.

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more within a fiscal year will be recognized as members of the Luther Rice Society, one of the university's most prestigious recognition societies. The Luther Rice Society has a number of benefits and events for its members.

How can I give?
There are many ways to make a gift to GW. You can make your gift via:

  • Payroll deduction
  • Check (Payable to The George Washington University)
  • Credit/debit card
  • Appreciated securities and bonds
  • Bequests
  • Life insurance

Use the payroll deduction form to make your gift today, or contact the GW annual giving office at giving@gwu.edu or 800-789-2611.

How does payroll deduction work?
Payroll deduction is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to make your gift. By completing the payroll deduction form, you may specify the amount to have automatically deducted from each paycheck and where your support should be designated. Your gift will be split over 12 or 26 pay periods, depending on your personal pay schedule, making it very easy to give your gift incrementally over time.

Who will know about my gift?
You will receive a receipt for your gift, but the amount will remain confidential to others. If you wish to keep your gift entirely anonymous, you may indicate so on the pledge form.

Can I make a gift jointly with my spouse/significant other?
Of course. It is your choice whether to make your gift as an individual or a couple. Additionally, your spouse/significant other may work for or be a retiree from a company that matches philanthropic gifts made by their employees. Check our matching gifts search form or with the human resources department of his/her company to see if you could double your gift to GW.

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